N Korea claims new satellite took photos of White House, Pentagon

But the claim is still under question due to a lack of supporting evidence.
By Lee Jeong-Ho for RFA
2023.11.27
Seoul, South Korea
N Korea claims new satellite took photos of White House, Pentagon North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un meets with members of the Non-Standing Satellite Launch Preparation Committee, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency on November 24, 2023.
KCNA via Reuters

UPDATED at 10:40 am ET on Nov. 28, 2023.

North Korea claimed Tuesday that its spy satellite launched last week in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions has captured images of significant U.S. locations, including the White House.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un thoroughly reviewed the “photographs of the White House, the Pentagon, and other targets in Washington D.C.,” taken by its newly-launched satellite at around 11:35 pm Pyongyang time Monday, according to the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

The state-run newspaper said on Tuesday that the satellite also captured images of U.S. military bases including the Naval Station Norfolk, the Newport News Shipyard, and the surrounding airport area – highlighting that it surveilled four U.S. Navy nuclear aircraft carriers and a British aircraft carrier.

The paper, however, did not release images taken by the satellite.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency had also claimed on Saturday that its newly launched satellite passed over Hawaii and observed “a naval base in the Pearl Harbor, the Hickam air-force base in Honolulu.” No satellite photos were published in that case either. 

The Associated Press reported that outside experts remain skeptical about whether the North Korean satellite can send high-resolution imagery and perform proper military reconnaissance.

While the lack of supporting evidence makes the North’s claims questionable, it appears to be signaling that it poses a direct threat to the U.S. North Korea has repeatedly issued threats against the U.S., specifically targeting the White House, declaring that it would turn it into an “inferno” and “ashes.” 

North Korea launched the satellite last week, drawing international condemnation. The launch violated U.N. Security Council resolutions that prohibit such launches by the North. The rocket technology can also be used for ballistic missiles, which potentially could be used to deliver nuclear weapons.

Trading Barbs 

With North Korea ramping up its provocation, the envoys of the United States and North Korea traded barbs at the U.N. Security Council in New York on Monday.

North Korean Ambassador Kim Song criticized the U.S. for being hostile to his country, as he defended Pyongyang’s launch of its satellite.

“One belligerent party, the United States, is threatening us with a nuclear weapon,” said Kim.

Referring to North Korea’s formal name, Kim continued: “It is [a] legitimate right for the DPRK, as another belligerent party, to develop, test, manufacture and possess weapons systems equivalent to those that the United States already possess and, or [are] developing right now.”

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, however, said that the U.S. and its allies’ joint military exercises – which Pyongyang claims as hostile – are defensive in nature, emphasizing that these exercises cannot justify the North’s violation of Security Council resolutions.

“We reject strongly the disingenuous DPRK claim that its missile launches are merely defensive in nature, in response to our bilateral and trilateral military exercises,” said Thomas-Greenfield, noting the U.S. drills with South Korea and Japan are announced in advance, and are purely defensive in nature.

“Once again, I’d like to express sincerely our offer of dialogue without preconditions, the DPRK only needs to accept,” she added.

Edited by Elaine Chan, Taejun Kang and Mat Pennington.

Recasts top of story.

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Your mom
Nov 28, 2023 12:15 PM

Where’s your source